It wasn’t until I sat down to beg you all for help that the severity of what’s going on in the flood zones really hit me and I started bawling. If you want to understand why, go watch this video from the Lewis County Chronicle website. I really need your help everybody.
I spent yesterday demolishing a single mother’s home in hopes of saving it. The main floor of her small house was filled with muddy contaminated water during this week’s record-breaking flood in western Washington. Apparently the water rose so fast that she and her 3 children were unable to get home and move their belongings from the main floor to safety.
4 days later while my 4 girlfriends and I were tearing the sheetrock and insulation from the walls of her home with hammers and shovels, she was still hauling her filthy belongings to temporary housing in garbage bags. A few of her children’s homemade Christmas decorations still clung to the higher walls.
Over 1600 homes were flooded in this disaster, the majority of which have no flood insurance. Businesses have been wiped out. As sad as it was to see Wal-Mart under water and Home Depot condemned, the hardest thing is to know that many small businesses may never recover. So even as their homes are destroyed, their livelihoods may be cut off as well, right at the busiest time of the year for many businesses.
One of my friends kept asking the disaster relief workers what the people would do now that their homes and belongings had been destroyed. Several families are walking away from homes and businesses with no idea what they will do next. The fact that Christmas is almost upon us is the least of their worries.
It was incredibly humbling to drive past homes and farms that had been completely submerged, some blasted by 14 feet of filthy water. Farms that have been handed down for generations are destroyed, their owners left with nothing. Some had to shoot their own livestock so they wouldn’t suffer while drowning. There are cars and farming equipment still under water or stuck in mud and much of it is completely unusable. We saw toys, clothes and furniture several feet up in trees. People are in shock. One elderly woman was found sitting alone in her mud-drenched home staring straight ahead, unable to move. It’s a daunting task and several hours of hard labor yield negligible results. It’s hard not to be discouraged by the slow pace of the progress.
One of the hardest hit areas is in Lewis county around Chehalis, a couple of hours south of where we live in the Seattle suburbs. My good friend grew up in Chehalis and her father is still a dentist and farmer in that area who, as a volunteer LDS church leader, is helping head up relief efforts. Taking few breaks to eat or rest, he has spent the past several days driving from home to home assessing needs, helping with cleanup, distributing donations and organizing hundreds of volunteers.
Several local churches of various faiths have been turned into shelters and clothing and food distribution centers. People are coming from all over the US to serve and help with cleanup. The main non-denominational relief organizations serving the area are the United Way and the Red Cross and they are doing amazing work.
I sent out an email to the women of my congregation asking for clothing, food and tool donations and within hours, we had a garage full of supplies which Dan drove down early this morning on his way to help with cleanup. When I got home from Chehalis last night, I talked to my neighbors about what I’d seen and they came up with 3 boxes of helpful donations.
Do you live nearby? Would you like to help with cleanup or reconstruction? Do you live far away? Would you like to help these people put their lives back together? Each year at Christmas we try to find someone in need who we can serve, something we should actually be doing all year long. This year the choice seems obvious for us. I can’t remember a time when I felt more blessed and more of an urge to give everything I can to help someone else. Even Laylee has gathered a mountain of clothes, toys and blankets in her room to take to the “flood people.”
I’m gathering monetary donations which I will use to purchase gift cards to Home Depot and other local businesses with much-needed supplies. We will drive these cards down to Lewis County and, with the direction of local relief workers, give them to the flood victims to meet their immediate needs. Personally, I believe that people are capable of reaching out and helping each other directly.
Obviously I am not a registered charity so I do not have a Tax ID to give you a receipt for deductions. However, if you have $2 or $2000 that you’d like to go directly to people in dire need this Christmas, and you trust me to get it to them, I know that together we can do a lot of good. If you’re more comfortable going the traditional route, please consider making a donation through The Red Cross or The United Way.
If you’d like to help me give directly to victims, please click here to send money via PayPal.
All money that comes into my account for the rest of the year will go 100% to help rebuild the hardest hit areas of Washington. The people are cold, they’re wet and they need our help and prayers.
If you have a blog, please pass this information along to your readers. You can lift the graphic from the top and any photos from this post and post a link back to this entry. Email me if you have any questions and please help these people any way you can. Imagine what it would be like to lose everything all at once with little or no warning. THANK YOU!
Thanks for the email…will spread the word and linky back to you.
Thanks for the email. I’ve linked to you on my blog and we are praying for you and those affected.
Oh Kathryn, thank you for doing this. I will get a post up soon!
Okay, I’m going to try to link you to my blog. But I’m so technically challenged.
I’d love to make a donation. What else can we do to help? What kind of items would be most helpful?
Alli ~Mrs. Fussypants says
Heartbreaking. I’ll link you in tomorrow’s post!
K, this is really sweet and thoughtful of you… way to use your power for good, girl. I posted my little post. 🙂
We are so thankful here on the coast that all we had to endure was a few days without power or phone service, and some downed trees. Thank you for sharing this. I linked to it on a post right away.
I never watch the news so I didn’t even know this was happening. I’ll spread the word.
Thank you for giving me a chance to help. I wanted to, but didn’t know where to make a donation. Thanks!
Heather from One Woman's World says
Wow, Kate. I had no idea it had gotten this bad. I”m so sorry. I’ll help spread the word, too.
I made a link from my blog! Thanks for all your work!
That is heartbreaking. I’d like to help.
I posted a link to send people over this way!
Wow. I really had no idea. I don’t watch the news at all. I will post this for sure. I’m just devastated and wish I could go help.
Done! Kudos to you and thank for the personal insights!
That’s terrible. Thanks for giving me a place to do something to help.
Farm Wife says
I posted & added a link in my side bar for you. God bless you in your efforts!
OMGoodness 🙁 My heart and prayers are with everyone!!! I will definitely post this link on my blog!
It looks like we got you covered on the Bloggernacle. May God bless all of you who are able to be hands on in the relief efforts.
I’m posting and linking back to you. I had no idea it was this bad.
Jen Hill says
I hadn’t heard about this story. Very tragic.
I received some photos from a friend of a friend who lives in the area, and is a civil engineer. All I can say is Holy Cow!
We’re praying hard that more people will realize just how bad a flood is, even it doesn’t make the national news because its not related to a hurricane…
Daring Young Mom, you ROCK! I am so blessed and humbled reading of your efforts. God bless you, and know that while I can’t help physically, there are many, many folks here in CO that are praying and sending money and donations to the Red Cross in the area.
Is there any way you can let me know if you get the dontation? I love PayPal, but I’m always worried that I’ve messed the darn thing up somehow :S Sorry… I know that’s inconvenient… just, if you get a moment… I’m off to blog… good luck with the cleanup
I’m sending my thoughts, prayers and empathy from New Orleans to everyone up there. I know how tough it is to go through this sort of thing! It’s incredible the love and support we have felt from people all over the country who came (and are still coming) down here to help. I hope you all will get the same treatment. I will send a donation your way!
Sarcastic Mom says
My post is up and I’m off to give. God bless you for reaching out, Kathryn.
I have “stuff”, If you’ll shoot me an email of where to send a box of baby boy clothes I can send it on.
Found you through my daughter’s blog, Calm Before the Stark. You are a kind and generous person. Hope my little bit helps.
The coop up here in Whatcom county is setting up a donation key on all the registers today. It is a big coop and I think it will help. We are small farmers too so I can only imagine…IF there is a supermarket/coop near to you maybe you can request they do the same.
My family lives in western Washington and it’s wonderful to know that if they had been among the victims, there would have been people eager to help them. Thanks for setting this up. I’m linking here from my blog.
You’re up on my blog as well… good luck!
I live in Chehalis. I am surrounded by the devestation, but was not personally flooded, nor was my husband’s business. The morning following the breaking of the levees we all awoke to 12 feet of water covering the freeway and friends and neighbors beign homeless. Countless streams of people filed past our house which is a couple of blocks away from a freeway overpass to silently view the destruction. The shock was palatable.
Our church has been taking home huge bags of muddy laundry to disinfect and clean. We have friends who are delivering firewood to complete strangers in need. There are countless hours spent sorting and organizing donations at the local red cross and united way. Those of our community that are not wet are giving sacrificially of what they have to help those who have lost alot or everything.
It so warms my heart that you are also working so very hard to help those who so desperately need it. Thank you! I have blogged about the flood and the after effects if you want to check that out as well as the recovery from this crisis.
Please keep helping and giving. You never know when it will be our turn to help you! God bless, Sarah
Donation to the Red Cross made.
Thanks so much for what you’re doing.
I am gathering donations – hopefully I will get some $$ also. A friend and I want to drive to the floodzone and HELP. We can come next Saturday 12/22. Would you be able to tell us where to go to make donations so they get to the people who need them and also where we can help – whatever we can do for a day…..my phone is 206-755-6227 – Verizon Cell or home 253-520-5515 or email. THANK YOU!!
Hello, I am looking for a way to directly donate household goods to Lewis County and Salvation Army, etc.. are saying their wharehouses are full and can hold no more. I am also LDS and you mentioned you know members down there. Would you be able to put me in touch with someone in that Stake/Ward. Thank you, email@example.com
We’re here in Idaho and wanting to head that way to help. We are a disaster construction co. (We have our UBL #602787757) and need to know where we are needed most! We have a huge waste/trash trailer, need to know if it’s needed and if so we would like to fill it up with donated goods or materials… So, with both trailers and a crew, we need to know about lodging in any area. If Home Depot is wiped out, how far will we need to travel for materials… etc. If anybody has a “go to person” please put them in contact with me. Cecilia >>> firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Curtis says
I have some furniture to donate to families in the flood zone. Do you know if there are people coordinating transports of donations to Chehalis. I have 2 dining tables, a matching couch and loveseat, 4 dining chairs, a coffee table, end table and a china hutch. Let me know if there are contacts for these types of donations.
wanda dickson says
I have some furniture, TV, a good running truck, and a few other things that we would like to donate to flood victims. How can we do that? We live about 2 hours north of Chalis and would be happy to drive it all down. We will even try to get more things from our friends to help out.
Gail Gross says
Lake Forest Park Presbyterian Church has a group of volunteers to help flood victims week of January 6th, 2008. Anyone in need?
Hello, I am a mother of a young girl. We have recently cleaned out her toy chest and I have a bunch of clean, hardly used dolls, and other toys that I would like to donate to the children of the flood. Could you please point me in the right direction. I live in Pierce County and do not know of any donation stations around here for the flood victims.
I have a Gulbransen Organ for free to any church in the Flood area who needs an organ.
Karen Capps says
Hello, my sister and parents home was completely washed away along the Newaukum River during the recent flood. They also lost a lot of land including all the land the home sat upon. It was a beautiful two-story home with a deck and concrete patio. They lost everything.
I am trying to find help for them in rebuilding. They no longer meet the requirements to rebuild on their current acearage due to building requirements but they are able to attain a remodel permit for an older building on the property that could be converted to a home. It too sustained flood damage.
They need a designed floor plan and help with a complete rebuild. These five people (sister +2 children +parents) need assistance desperately.
Lani ~ The Wooden Porch says
Are you still collecting money? I just now read this (and saw your email).
Maybe it’s too soon, however, I am aware that a lot of people lost their horsey pets. I have three that I’m willing to ‘donate’ to a ‘loving’ family, and or families. If you know of someone that ‘needs’ a new horsey ‘pet’ or two, or three, ‘LOL’ please let me know.
Cindy Wilson says
I was flooded and people will be needing money for months. I just finished sheet rocking and put mud up all day today. There is no was we can fix up our homes for the amount of money we were given. It’s a given that this is going to be an ongoing project for months.
Is there still a need for volunteers? I have a group interested in making a local mission in June and were hoping to do some clean-up from the floods if there is still a need. Please let me know. email@example.com